The Joke Police

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Remember when I said you should be careful what you joke about? I wasn't kidding.

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  1. We should nuke Oregon, all they do is sit around in the woods and collect unemployment anyway.

  2. Look on the bright side.When the Constitution is amended in a few years to declare the US a conservative-Evangelical theocracy, at least this kind of thing won’t happen anymore. No judge will be allowed to miss such an obvious biblical reference.

  3. This is not a credible “threat” and a prison sentence of 37 months is not at all justifiable.

  4. There are some things no sane person makes jokes about – statements that threaten the POTUS go beyond funny or stupid and are outside the bounds of free speach. Having said that, I wonder what else was presented at this guys trial that justifies a 37 month sentence?
    I think a standard policy of a thirty day remand for mental observation should be adopted for such people to determine if they are all there and if it is just sick “humor”, a boot in the butt after the lecture on the sane limits on free speach should make an impression, IMO.

  5. “He has said the comment was a prophecy protected under his right to free speech.”

    It stops being a joke when it starts becoming a self fullfillable (yeah, that’s not even close to a word, is it) prophecy about killing the president, doesn’t it? Doesn’t that slip into the “threats on the POTUS” category?

  6. A guy I work with wants to put up pictures of funny/quirky/ludicrous things he’s seen written in the sidewalks of San Francisco. One of them says “Nuke Reagan.” He’s afraid to put that one up for fears of getting a call from the Secret Service for making terroristic threats against a former president.

    Where is the fine line between a joke and a threat drawn?

  7. I abhor censorship as much as the next guy, but when it comes to threatening someone’s life, a line has to be drawn somewhere.

  8. Mostafa – I believe the line is drawn at clear and present danger, or clearly attainable objectives. The “Nuke Reagan” sign is neither CPD nor CAO. Someone speaking conspiratorially about spraying the POTUS, who is set to speak nearby the next day, with flammable liquid and then lighting him, and calling it a “prophecy” probably rises to the CAO standard.

    I think that’s probably the line.

    Illustration:
    “The president should be sacrificed to the lava gods by throwing him into the great volcano on the big island in Hawaii” is probably neither CAO nor CPD.

    “The president ought to be shot” said the man, holding a gun, and eyeing a news report that showed the president would be in town the next day, probably rises to CAO.

    (enough abbreviations for you?)

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